Square, 2018/19, public intervention in NYC; video, objects, photographs, text
The exhibition Square is a direct result of Neža Knez’s two-month residency in New York. It references her new life experience, new surroundings, the culture, and the people. Neža Knez carried out a public street-cleaning action on Brooklyn’s Broadway Avenue. She selected a square in front of the entrance to her apartment where she lived; determining the location and time – she cleaned 22 days, every day from 8 am to 9:30 am. The street on which she worked was full of random passers-by, especially those carried out everyday routines on the street: walking to work, drinking coffee, opening nearby stores. In these passers-by, she awakened an interest, yet she did not wish to engage in verbal communication with them, or even later explain to them that she was carrying out an artistic action. Her answer was only that she wishes to have a clean square.
What does the square represent the artist?
During her first experience in the United States, Neža Knez had the impression that the American flag and the square are visual elements that most determine those surroundings. Even the series of photographs documenting her working process awaken painterly associations. For her, the persistent cleaning of the ground represents the closest approximation to a direct painting experience that she has ever gone through.
On the exhibition itself, the artist presents photographs, video, objects, and excerpts from her journal writings. Some works were created during the action itself, others came about later in response to it. The documentary video and photographs record the process of cleaning, the location, the happening and people’s reactions. The documentation reveals the basic information about the street, its nature, incidental passers-by, community and culture.
In general, the project Square carries several characteristics of Knez’s previous artistic actions, which reveal every day through physical activity. With them, she creates situations that are inconceivable in the chosen environment yet are unusual enough to carry the potential to interrupt the flow of the urban routine. By including random passers-by, Neža Knez provokes an immediate reaction and thus emphasizes the importance of genuine experience and cooperation, which are both integral parts of her activity.
*Nina Skumavc – Gallery P74